One great and often looked tool in the fight for fire safety is the use of fire resistant doors. These are commonly regulated in commercial and public buildings but can also be a great benefit in a domestic setting. The basic premise is a door made from a fire resistant material that can help to slow or stop the spread of fire and smoke through your home or business. Fire doors can be made from a variety of different materials and come with a variety of different fire ratings. Here we’ll look at some important details to look for when shopping for a fire door as well as ways to effectively use them in your home.
Material and Construction
Some common materials that go into the construction of a fire door include: gypsum, steel, timber, and vermiculite boards. Although construction may vary, typically a fire door is crafted with a solid core formed from timber, particle board or flaxboard which is then framed with a laminated veneer. Additionally, door frames that house a fire door are required to meet similar standards. In order to stop the spread of smoke door frames are equipped with intumescent strips (or an adequate alternative) which expand when exposed to heat to create a seal. Typically, fire doors are of a greater thickness than regular doors. A fire door rated for 30 minutes will usually be 45 millimeters thick (compared to 35 mm for a non-fire door) and one rated for 1 hour usually 54 mm thick. In some cases fire doors can be equipped with a fire resistant window made from a variety of different translucent materials. One interesting trick applied in recent years is to link up your fire doors to close automatically when your fire alarm goes off.
Using a fire door properly is all about planning and where you position it in your home. Since the basic idea is to stop the spread of fire and smoke you want to plan to contain vulnerable areas and protect your escape routes. Identify locations in your home that are especially vulnerable to fire (kitchen, rooms with a fireplace, garage, water heater) to quarantine while still leaving viable escape routes. As an additional perk, proper use of fire doors may buy enough time for firefighters to control the fire and save the majority of your home. When used properly fire doors should be able to buy you and your family enough time to escape from your house. As an added bonus, modern fire doors can be quite aesthetically pleasing and don’t have to look like the industrial standards you commonly see.